Calling and Election Made Sure

April 14, 2008    By: Geoff J @ 1:22 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices,Theology

I know this is a touchy subject for some people but I am trying to get a feel from our readers exactly what you all think having one’s calling and election made sure consists of. This is one of those subjects that gets mentioned and hinted at on occasion but I am not sure if there is a universal definition in the church. Here are some of the rumors/ideas I have heard or read about it over the years:

- It means one is going to be exalted for sure (unless they later commit the unpardonable sin, per D&C 132)
- It is also referred to as the “more sure word of prophecy” from time to time
- It is often associated with receiving the “second comforter” which some believe means a visitation from Jesus Christ himself
- Some assume it is directly related to a now-obscure sacred ordinance called the second anointing

I’m sure there is more to it than that but those are the parts I can think of right off the top of my head. So is there some kind of consensus about this subject? Is it universally believed that the ordinance of the second anointing must accompany having one’s calling and election made sure? Is it universally believed that Jesus must visit a person for this event to take place? If a visit from God the Son is required does a dream vision count? How about a waking vision? Must it be a physical visit from Jesus to count? I know there has been a popular speculation the all church apostles must have received this experience/ordinance (in order to be “special witnesses of Christ” if I remember the logic I was told) but I have also heard Truman Madsen quoting President Grant to dispute that rumor. What do y’all know about this subject?

Up front admission: I am inclined to think that this whole subject may be seriously blown out of proportion in the minds of many church members but I am open to be convinced otherwise…

76 Comments »

  1. D&C 88: 3-4 Second Comforter=Holy Spirit of Promise=the promise of eternal life=the glory of the celestial kingdom

    John 14:16-21 Second Comforter=manifestation of Christ

    2 Peter 1:10 Calling and Election=you shall never fall

    D&C 76:54-69 Church of the Firstborn=priests & kings who have received a fulness, dwell in the presence of God

    The way I understand the doctrine is that making one’s calling and election sure is connected to receiving the Second Comforter, a manifestation of Christ and being sealed up to eternal life. As a result of this one becomes part of the church of the Firstborn. I also understand the ordinance of the Second Anointing to be an outward symbol of the calling and election, but is dormant until the person has received the sealing of the Holy Spirit of Promise. A person can have received the ordinance but not the sealing or the visitation of Christ; and vice-versa.

    The Second Anointing is an ordinance which takes place in the Church today, but is not generally spoken of.

    I don’t think that even those who have been visited by the Savior are sure whether this is a physical manifestation, a dream, or a vision.

    I don’t believe that all Apostles have received a visitation of the Savior. Some have made it clear in their testimonies that they have not.

    I’m not sure what you mean about Church members blowing this out of proportion. I think it is important because eventually we must all make our calling and election sure in order to enter the Celestial Kingdom. Don’t you agree?

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — April 14, 2008 @ 4:29 am

  2. Personally, I feel the answer to nearly every questions and observation you make is yes. I understand there is an exaltation for sure involved, that it is based on prophecy, it includes a physical visit from Jesus, that there is (or at least was) an ordinance associated with it, etc.

    Although I would say that what I ‘know’ about the subject is hardly anything.

    I disagree with your admission. I feel the opposite way. I think most members don’t even think about it, and instead of blowing it out of proportion they ignore it.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — April 14, 2008 @ 5:47 am

  3. I had a BYU religion professor (I’d prefer not to say his name because I’m not sure what he would think of my referencing him here on a somewhat speculative topic, but he is a man who I greatly respect and admire) who said, in his opinion, that receiving the Second Comforter is something that (usually?) occurs in the temple TO COUPLES. I thought that this was interesting because I hadn’t heard this before. It does make some sense, though, when you consider its connection to D&C 132 (and exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom). He also opined that Joseph Smith and Emma Smith almost certainly received the Second Comforter (which is interesting considering the many condemning opinions that are often cast about Emma’s eternal standing).

    This professor also said that it is pointless (and stupid) to ask anyone (e.g., apostles) if they’ve received the Second Comforter because if they have they won’t tell you about it. (He did say that he is fairly confident that MANY “ordinary” Church members have had their calling and election made sure.) He said further that he thinks that some Church members are too directly focused on this doctrine (e.g., certain missionaries); however, most Church members don’t think about it enough. He said we all should be (patiently) striving to come to Christ in a very personal way, and we should strive to having our calling and election made sure in THIS life (although most of us won’t actually receive it in this life).

    On a slightly related note, I think that Church members say too much about whether apostles and prophets have been physically visited by the Savior. My opinion is that many (or some) have, but I do not see it as the fundamental thing that makes them a “special witness.” If it is, does that mean that they receive this visitation upon first being called, or does it take some time? Interestingly, Orson Pratt said (at a fairly old age) that he had never seen Christ. I suppose I am open, though, to the possibility that all apostles might receive this visitation sometime before their ministry is over …?

    Comment by Dennis Wendt — April 14, 2008 @ 6:30 am

  4. Dennis, the in-temple experience you’re talking about is the Second Anointing (sometimes wrongly called the “Second Endowment”), which is a temple ordinance in which a couple is sealed up to eternal life (has their calling and election made sure). The husband is anointed as a king and priest unto the most high god, while his wife is anointed a queen and priestess unto her husband. In approximately 1990, I attended a sealing in the Jordan River Temple, which was performed by Paul H. Dunn. I spoke with him after the sealing and directly asked if the Second Anointing was still performed. His response was “Yes, but that’s just making your calling and election sure.” I remember his words, mostly because of the “just” part, which struck me as odd. I also spoke with a more recent temple president about it (he passed away about two years ago now), and he confirmed that the ordinance still takes place. It is only done at the invitation of the president of the LDS church, and one never asks to receive it. Those who do receive it are specifically instructed that they may note the experience in their personal journal, but not otherwise discuss the matter.

    Of note–prior to the time of Heber J. Grant (who suspended performance of the ordinance for many years), it was taught that the ordinance was unconditional, unless one committed the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the holy ghost. Since that time, it has been considered more conditional in nature, and more recent comments (few as they are) have characterized it as simply a “special blessing.”

    Quite a lot of historical material is actually available on this subject, so it strikes me as odd when I see bloggernacle participants make comments like “Some assume it is directly related to a now-obscure sacred ordinance…” I’ve even seen some in the bloggernacle comment that they disbelieve any such ordinance exists at all, as if it’s some rumor/myth spun from whole cloth.

    Comment by Nick Literski — April 14, 2008 @ 7:22 am

  5. I meant to add, by way of clarification, that the Second Comforter is not an ordinance, but rather a personal visitation by Jesus, face to face. This may follow the Second Anointing, but does not always do so. Hence Bruce R. McConkie’s comment (in his New Testament Commentary, as I recall) that many have had their calling and election made sure, who have not exhibited sufficient faith or righteousness to receive the Second Comforter.

    Comment by Nick Literski — April 14, 2008 @ 7:25 am

  6. BiV (#1): I’m not sure what you mean about Church members blowing this out of proportion. I think it is important because eventually we must all make our calling and election sure in order to enter the Celestial Kingdom. Don’t you agree?

    Not really.

    I honestly suspect that this whole thing is the religious equivalent to a conspiracy theory — spoken of in hushed terms but never really examined so it lingers on forever. If it is something that God wants for us all why does he never ask his prophets to tell us something about it?

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 9:13 am

  7. Dennis: This professor also said that it is pointless (and stupid) to ask anyone (e.g., apostles) if they’ve received the Second Comforter because if they have they won’t tell you about it.

    Har! This is the part that really kills me. It is like making up a rumor that the First Presidency has brunch with Jesus every Thursday and then covering your tracks by saying “never ask them about it though because they are forced to deny it”. It is an airtight approach to totally making stuff up and it lets people believe whatever they feel like regardless of the truth of the matter. In such cases even when members of the FP explicitly deny it, people who believe it is true just wink and nod at each other confident that God made the FP deny it even though they (the true believers) are sure in their hearts that the brunch really does happen.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  8. BiV, I read D&C 88:3-5 and John 14 as referring to the Holy Ghost, not Christ, as the Comforter. The idea being that any member of the church can know his standing before God due to the companionship of the Spirit. I see the gift of the Holy Ghost as God’s witness to us that our sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit is accepted by Him and we have the promise of eternal life. I like the idea that if the Holy Ghost gives us comfort that we will “make it”, then Christ offers us a more sure word that we will “make it”. What greater comfort can one receive than to know that he/she is acceptable before God?

    Comment by Kent — April 14, 2008 @ 9:19 am

  9. Dennis: we should strive to having our calling and election made sure in THIS life (although most of us won’t actually receive it in this life)

    This seems like it could be a useful goal to shoot for, but I am just not convinced it the goal God has in mind for us here. That is partially why I wrote this post. I wonder if striving to get Jesus to personally visit you in this life as the sign that you are acceptable before Him is a road that ends up causing many saints to end their lives feeling like failures; especially if getting such a visitation/vision is not really God’s intended pinnacle experience in this life for us after all.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 9:24 am

  10. Nick: it strikes me as odd when I see bloggernacle participants make comments like “Some assume it is directly related to a now-obscure sacred ordinance”

    To be clear, I have read the Dialogue article about the second anointing (was it Buerger?). That sentence you quote from me is accurate though. It is an obscure ordinance (if it happens still it is apparently rare and kept under wraps) and not everyone seems to be convinced the ordinance is even necessary in this life to have one’s calling and election made sure. So my point is the whole thing seems like a loosey goosey speculative mess to me.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  11. Geoff, perhaps I read too much into what you said. I’ve repeatedly seen others in the bloggernacle dismiss the Second Anointing as essentially a rumor, and when you called it obscure, I read a negative connotation into your comment, rather than just the actual definition of the word. For what it’s worth, I think part of the reason the ordinance has become “obscure” is that it originally was considered unconditional, and recorded administrations of the ordinance actually refer to “ordaining” individuals such as Brigham Young to “godhood” or to “the everlasting godhead.” It’s a mighty big claim to make, and understandably would appear blasphemous to christians who have rejected the concept of human divinization.

    It’s rather easy to read early Mormon leaders’ comments as suggesting that the Second Anointing is essential to exaltation. Since the administration of Heber J. Grant, however, modern LDS teaching (“modern” as in, since Grant) certainly does not teach that the Second Anointing is necessary in order to make one’s calling and election sure.

    The earliest sources on this topic involve individuals holding the then-new office of high priest “sealing up” entire congregations “to eternal life.” Soon after, you see individuals such as Heber C. Kimball claiming personal revelation that their calling and election has been made sure. By September of 1843, Joseph Smith had introduced the Second Anointing, and the sources appear to suggest that with that ordinance in place, one’s calling and election will be made sure via priesthood channels through that ordinance. Heber J. Grant actually suspended the practice of the ordinance for several years, until urged strongly by George F. Richards, then president of the quorum of the twelve. After that time, however, and especially by the time of Harold B. Lee, it was considered both conditional and non-essential in nature.

    In any case, the ordinance is quite limited in practice, and no doubt thousands of worthy individuals simply never come to the attention of the First Presidency, and thus are never invited to receive the ordinance. It seems that any deity worth worshipping wouldn’t hold one’s lack of ecclesiastical connections against them, don’t you think?

    Comment by Nick Literski — April 14, 2008 @ 9:50 am

  12. Kent, the relevent JS quote is this:

    “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses…

    Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; …when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face …”

    ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — April 14, 2008 @ 9:53 am

  13. Nick: It seems that any deity worth worshipping wouldn’t hold one’s lack of ecclesiastical connections against them, don’t you think?

    Indeed I do think that. Well said.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 9:57 am

  14. Thomas, thanks for providing that quote. I forgot why this scripture is often used this way in our discourse. I think Willard Richards is a pretty reliable source, so I don’t dispute that Joseph Smith read John 14 in this way at that time, but I think he wasn’t providing an exegetic as much as he was just using a few scriptures to illustrate the concept of Christ appearing to men to give them their calling and election. That reading is kind of fast and loose, and the text requires a little more nuance than was written in Richard’s journal.

    Christ is referring in vs. 16 to the Holy Ghost (as he is in vs. 26) since he calls it “another Comforter”, with the key word “another.” Just as Christ is speaking of the unity he and his Father experience in the preceding verses, he also in the Holy Ghost, and he will come to the disciples. I do like the reading of verses 23 and 24 as literal manifestations of Christ and the Father to an individual, but I don’t know of anyone else that has read it literally rather than through the manifestation of the Holy Ghost. Even we don’t say that the Father will come too for the second comforter.

    Not a major issue, since I do believe in the Second Comforter, just not in that interpretation of that scripture.

    Comment by Kent — April 14, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  15. Actually, Joseph Smith personally spoke on the 14th chapter of John, on April 2, 1843. From his own diary:

    “John 23.–the appearing of the father and of the Son in that verse is a personal appearance.–to say that the father and the Son dwell in a mans heart is an old Sectarian notion. and is not correct.”

    Or as Orson Pratt recorded it:

    “John 14:23–The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.”

    Of course, the worst abuse I ever saw of that verse was a 1990s Relief Society manual, which ignored Joseph Smith on the subject, and interpreted the passage to mean (I kid you not) that if our homes were clean and tidy, we could have the spirit present there.

    Comment by Nick Literski — April 14, 2008 @ 10:49 am

  16. Geoff, to get back to the question that you asked in the beginning: I believe in a relational God and the process is such that once one follows the requirements in D&C 93:1, in order to continue progressing one would need to receive the ministering by angels and Christ. Since life eternal is to know Christ and his Father in the conoscere way (relational not discursive knowledge), you would need to get to know them. The whole point of the temple is to make one’s way to the holy of holies where God dwells and from him receive eternal glory. Jewish and Christian ascension texts provide interesting and relevant illustrations of the process.

    Joseph Smith was pointing out that we don’t need to wait until we die to get to personally know God with all of our senses. I agree with BiV in her analysis of the Second Comforter and distinguishing it from the Second Anointing, though the anointing is what points to the reality of the literal manifestation of Christ to the individual (just as the other temple ordinances point to the same promise).

    Comment by Kent — April 14, 2008 @ 11:00 am

  17. Nick, excellent! I am happy to know that Joseph Smith believed we can also know the Father in this life as well.

    Comment by Kent — April 14, 2008 @ 11:01 am

  18. Geoff,

    I think one of the main reasons people take it seriously is that Joseph Smith took it seriously. Toward the end of his life, especially, he talked about it a LOT.

    As to your questions about definitions, my opinion is that the scriptures paint a fairly consistent message about this topic. At least, they do when they are read with Joseph Smith’s commentary. In other words, I think a fairly consistent picture of what Joseph believed can be pieced together and superimposed on the scriptural texts. However, laying it out carefully makes one look like the aforementioned missionaries who are preoccupied with it as a gospel hobby horse. So I have avoided discussing it online pretty consistently, although I see things written about it from time to time that make me want to argue with people. I agree with Nick that there is very little need to rely on rumors if one does a bit of research. For all the questions people ask in hushed tones, I think there are fairly straightforward answers which can be backed up with good evidence. That is, unless you are talking about the theology itself.

    The idea of a “more sure word” seems quite problematic in my view, but Joseph seemed very big on it, which intrigues me. As we have talked about many times, the idea of free will seems to necessitate the possibility of God himself falling from glory if he were to so chose. The idea that someone can get a promise that they will be exalted despite anything they do (other than the unpardonable sin) is just weird to me. It is hard for me to make any theological sense out of.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 14, 2008 @ 11:17 am

  19. If it is something that God wants for us all why does he never ask his prophets to tell us something about it?

    Are you sure the prophets aren’t ever talking about this? I’m not.

    And this concept is addressed often in the scriptures, so there are prophets there who have told us something about it as well.

    Comment by m&m — April 14, 2008 @ 11:32 am

  20. Thanks for the response Jacob. My response to you is: If you are convinced there are pretty straight forward answers let’s hear them!

    - Do you think having our calling and election made sure is the ultimate goal God has for us while on earth?
    - Do you think the second anointing is required? If not what use is it?
    - Is a visit from the Father and Son to be expected in order to know one has arrived at the goal? If so in what form must this visit take? Or is the Father not really expected to visit us here (contra the quote from Nick) but rather a visit from the Son would suffice?

    I mentioned my concern with the whole subject in my comment #9. I worry it is setting many saints up for disappointment at the end of their long and faithful lives if God never intended us to make this experience our ultimate goal in this life to begin with.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 11:33 am

  21. Shortly after I got home from my mission, I did a lot of research on this topic, though none of that is in front of me at the moment.

    I wrote Bruce Satterfield, the only BYU (Idaho) religion prof who mentioned the second anointing on his web site, and at the time he confirmed what I had read.

    Basically, the ordinance of second anointing as performed in the temple is not essential to our salvation. (Per Harold B. Lee, if I recall correctly)

    A lack of having received the second comforter is not a sign of a lack of righteousness nor a lack of faith. (Per Satterfield.) The idea I took away from Satterield was that we ought live our lives in such a way to be worthy of God physically manifesting himselves to us, and take whatever level of dialogue the Lord gives us.

    I don’t remember much beyond that.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 14, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  22. m&m: Are you sure the prophets aren’t ever talking about this? I’m not.

    Great. So feel free to show me where prophets are answering my questions in #20.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  23. I should add, that this was a while back when I perhaps naively thought Religion Teachers at LDS universities knew everything there was to know about everything.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 14, 2008 @ 11:36 am

  24. Matt (#21),

    Hehe. I like the way Satterfield totally hedged his bets. In other words, his answers seems to say “None of this stuff is really reflective of our standing before God at all but if shooting for a visit from God makes you try harder to be like God then knock yerself out”. That seems to be the message I have seen in the past as well.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 11:38 am

  25. Geoff, I don’t know that I’d take it that far. I think it is sort of like the endowment (and definitely repeated temple worship)or many other ordinances, which from a skeptical perspective, I would say falls exactly into the same sentence you just laid out. I think there is a certain other value to them, for our benefit.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 14, 2008 @ 11:44 am

  26. Not the most helpful answer, I know, but I believe it’s something I’m unlikely to understand unless or until I experience it.

    Comment by BHodges — April 14, 2008 @ 11:45 am

  27. Matt (#25): the endowment…falls exactly into the same sentence you just laid out

    Not really Matt. In the church we would indeed consider one’s temple worthiness as reflective, in some degree at least, of their standing before God. But a temple recommend is available to all adult members — access to the second anointing is not.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 11:47 am

  28. BHodges: I believe it’s something I’m unlikely to understand unless or until I experience it.

    One could say the same about having brunch with Jesus, no? ;-)

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 11:50 am

  29. Geoff:

    Not all adult memebers of the church live with access to a temple, due to financial constraints, primarily. While this is being alleviated as more temples go online, it isn’t done yet. I served my mission in the philipines, and it was a major issue there financially.

    I think if you’ve had your second anointing, you can say, “I’m in the good on this”, while if you haven’t, the best you can say is “I don’t know where I am on this”. I think that is similar to the endowment.

    To your credit, a big difference is that the endowment has rules that if you follow, you get your endowment, and these rules are publicly known and discussed.

    The second anointing however, has no specific rules that are publicly known, and it is not discussed. I think it boils down to “keep the commandments and you’ll get to heaven” and at one point, this was a reward to say “You are on the right path”

    Comment by Matt W. — April 14, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

  30. Matt,

    If one could get a second anointing recommend the comparison I quoted in #27 would work. But since one can’t it didn’t. BTW – Another thing that works against claiming that the second anointing is required for exaltation is that I don’t think it has ever been done by proxy. [Update -- I was wrong about the proxy thing. My sources tell me there were proxy second anointing back in the day (as in early 20th century at latest). I don't think they happen now though.]

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  31. If second anointings don’t matter, then neither do first anointings or the endowment, as they both explicitly state that the second anointing is the goal and that both are in preparation for it

    Comment by Anon-Researcher — April 14, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

  32. Geoff, ah, I see where you are headed. I will alter what I said earlier then. I realize we are not necessarily getting outright specific answers on these things, but I do think we get more than we sometimes think, both from current leaders and from the scriptures. I personally think they are not given explicitly because we are supposed to develop “eyes to see” and “ears to hear.”

    I once felt frustrated that ‘we don’t hear more about the temple.’ Then I had a significant ‘aha’ while reading my scriptures. I confess that, once again found myself thinking, “Why haven’t the prophets talked about this more?” And — no kidding — on my bed was an Ensign, OPEN to an article about the temple, where Elder Nelson had given explicit references that were exactly where I had been reading when I had my ‘aha.’ It was a very humbling experience to realize that a prophet HAD been talking about these things, giving me the tools to get answers to them, but I just hadn’t seen/heard as I could/should have.

    So I tend to think that, were our ears and eyes more attuned, we might see/hear/learn/understand more about many things, perhaps these things included.

    Comment by m&m — April 14, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  33. Ordinances aren’t necessary to know God, but I believe God has instituted them to point the way to him and create a covenant relationship. The ordinances are only necessary if God says they are. The goal is unification with God, not checking off a list of required ordinances. If Christ decides an ordinance will prepare me for greater light and knowledge, then he can institute as many as he wants I guess. The Millennium is the time when more ordinances can be performed in person and vicariously if more are required. In other words, no one really has to worry about getting everything checked off in this life since so few do anyway.

    Comment by Kent — April 14, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  34. [SARCASM] If it’s not in the SS/PR/RS manuel we aren’t supposed to be teaching it. [/SARCASM]

    Comment by ed42 — April 14, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  35. If it’s not in the SS/PR/RS manuel we aren’t supposed to be teaching it.

    It’s mentioned in GD NT manual :)

    Comment by m&m — April 14, 2008 @ 1:02 pm

  36. Geoff,

    The part things that are fairly straightforward (according to me) are the mechanics of the ordinances and the scriptural connections between various concepts. For example, you said

    Some assume it is directly related to a now-obscure sacred ordinance…

    The “some assume” part of that sentence strikes me the way it did Nick. This is not some speculative assumption, but can be backed up by the practices of the church over many years and the teachings that surrounded those practices. There is no doubt that the doctrine as taught by Joseph Smith was connected to the ordinance referred to. The way you phrase the question makes it sound like people are just making this connection up in highly speculative rumors. Similarly, you said:

    It is also referred to as the “more sure word of prophecy” from time to time

    The phrase “more sure word of prophecy” comes from 2 Pet 1:19 which has canonical commentary in D&C 131:5 and some more detailed commentary by Joseph Smith in his recorded sermons. Where is the loosey goosey speculation? Again:

    It is often associated with receiving the “second comforter” which some believe means a visitation from Jesus Christ himself

    As has been quoted already in #12, this comes from the explicit statement of Joseph Smith, so although it is obviously open to disagreement, it is not a matter of rumor or speculation, unless by “speculation” you are including Joseph’s speculations (which I didn’t gather was your intent).

    So, if you are interested in my explanation of what the various terms mean and how they are related, I could take a stab at it, but I don’t think you are actually interested in that. The questions you ask in #20 are geared toward the theology surrounding this doctrine, which is the part I said is perplexing. That said, I will take a stab at your questions in #20 in my next comment.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 14, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  37. Jacob (#36) I would simply add that the popular usage of “more sure word of prophecy” and “calling and election made sure” are often far removed from Joseph Smith’s. While Joseph does appear to have championed a charismatic attestation of salvation in the “second comforter,” he ultimately championed the ritual attestation in the second anointing. We see from folks like Brigham Young that seeing the Savior wasn’t expected by even the highest authorities in the Church.

    I think Ehat’s thesis might be a good place to start if you are interested in this topic.

    Comment by Anon-Researcher — April 14, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

  38. Okay, so here are my answers to your questions in #20:

    - Do you think having our calling and election made sure is the ultimate goal God has for all people on while on earth?

    You are sort of mixing multiple questions in this one question. God’s goal for every person is to have them become exalted in the celestial kingdom. In that sense, his ultimate goal is to have them make their callings and elections sure. However, it is abundantly clear that most people will not make it to this goal in this life, so saying it is the goal does not mean a life that doesn’t accomplish this is a failure or a waste. Similarly, we might ask if having everyone join the church is God’s goal for all people on the earth. I would give the same answer to both of these questions.

    - Do you think the second anointing is required? If not what use is it?

    In the same sense that any other saving ordinance is required, yes. As you mentioned above, we know that these ordinances were performed vicariously for the dead in the past and there is no reason I know of to suppose they are not done today (although you speculated that they are not being done). Either way, it is widely taught that we will do a lot of vicarious ordinances in the millennium, no reason these couldn’t be done then with all the other billions of ordinances that won’t be done by then.

    - Is a visit from the Father and Son to be expected in order to know one has arrived at the goal? If so in what form must this visit take? Or is the Father not really expected to visit us here (contra the quote from Nick) but rather a visit from the Son would suffice?

    I think this is the most interesting of your questions as it gets to the question of how ordinances are related to spiritual realities they signify/prefigure. Take baptism/confimation as an example. Just receiving an ordinance doesn’t count for anything on its own. Ordinances are rituals attached to spiritual realities. We lay hand on someone’s head and we tell them to receive the Holy Ghost. A person can receive the Holy Ghost without that (as attested to in the scriptures) or they can receive the HG after (which is the chronology we usually teach), but if baptism is not accompanied by repentance and a remission of sins it doesn’t mean anything and the same goes for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    I would argue that the same is true for all ordinances. Matt W said this above and I must respectfully disagree:

    the endowment has rules that if you follow, you get your endowment, and these rules are publicly known and discussed.

    The way Joseph taught it, the real endowment is the spiritual gift pointed to by the ritual we usually refer to as the endowment ceremony. I recon that most people who go through the ritual do not receive the endowment Joseph referred to. Same thing with the second annointing. It is a ritual that points to a specific spiritual blessing. Just as people who are baptized/confirmed are supposed to receive the first comforter, the people who receive this ordinance are supposed to go receive the second comforter. As Nick mentioned, BRM chastized a lot of people for having received the ordinance but not showing requisite faith to receive the second comforter.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 14, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

  39. Anon-Researcher,

    Thanks, I don’t disagree with your comment. I am quite familiar with Ehat’s thesis and agree that it is a very good resource for anyone who is interested in the topic.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 14, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

  40. Pretty good answers Jacob. I very much agree with you about the ordinances only being shadows of spiritual realities. The visit of the second comforter seems to be that line where symbol ends and reality starts. Sort of where the rubber hits the road I think. I get the impression you don’t even want to attempt to answer my last and most important question about what exactly happens when one receives the second comforter and thus attains their calling and election made sure before dying. I mean if one does get a visit from God what form does it take and which members of the Godhead are supposed to be there? I guess I wonder if that really happens to people in this life at all or if it actually happens on the other side of the veil and hushed claims otherwise are just examples of faith promoting rumors that float around (see the brunch with Jesus example above).

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 4:07 pm

  41. Geoff,

    I get the impression you don’t even want to attempt to answer my last and most important question about what exactly happens when one receives the second comforter and thus attains their calling and election made sure before dying.

    Sorry, I wasn’t trying to be coy. My answer is simply to point to Joseph Smith’s comment from #12.

    [The second comforter] is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; …when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face

    The “time to time” part is important. Joseph did not teach (so far as I can tell) that the second comforter is an event, but rather that it is an ongoing blessing for people who have reached a certain level of spirituality/sanctification. The “and even” (and really the whole quote) seems to indicate that it is not some set vision that happens the same for every person who receives it. It is the opportunity to be taught by the Savior, which will vary for different people. Personal visitations seem to be fairly rare, even for the most righteous among us, but this is where the rest of the quote might be useful:

    that when any man obtains this last Comforter he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him or appear unto him from time to time. & even he will manifest the Father unto him & they will take up their abode with him, & the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him & the Lord will teach him face to face & he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, & this is the state & place the Ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious vision Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St Paul in the third heavens, & all the Saints who held communion with the general Assembly & Church of the First Born &c. (from here)

    So, it seems that Joseph is saying that these prophets reached a place where they could have these type of visions and be taught by the Savior and all of this falls under his definition of the second comforter. I might suggest a possible modern day example as described by David B. Haight in the 1989 General Conference. Elder Haight never connects the his experience to the second comforter, but it seems to fit what Joseph was describing and I mention it because you were saying above you wondered if this sort of thing actually happens at all.

    Now, I just want to note in conclusion that Joseph makes a distinction between the second comforter and “making your calling and election sure.” You sort of glued them together in your last statement, but they are not identical. The model for making your calling and election sure is Abraham (as with most things) as described in Hebrews 6 (that probably requires some commentary). Joseph records his own calling and election being made sure in D&C 132:46-50 although the dating of that is tricky. A bunch of other phrases and concepts end up getting tied in here in various ways, such as the oath and covenant of the priesthood.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 14, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

  42. For those interested, Satterfield’s references to the second anointing are still online here.

    Also, one thing that was and is still confusing to me is that in the McConkie era, Calling and Election Made sure is treated as definitely seperate and apart from the second anointing.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 14, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  43. Hmmm… So Jacob, you seem to be implying any revelatory dreams with Jesus in them are good enough to be called the Second Comforter. I’ve had revelatory dreams with Jesus in them, I guess that means I have received the Second Comforter already?

    Most importantly, if receiving the second comforter is not the key element to having one’s callings and election made sure as you say then just what does having one’s calling and elect sure require on your view? It seems to me that you are being coy about it. Just linking to Hebrews 6 is not really answering the question at all.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

  44. I don’t think there is any evidence that the ordinance of “second anointing” has any necessary association with having one’s calling and election made sure. The former is formal ordinance, the latter (according to Joseph Smith) is a personal revelation.

    There is evidence “the more sure word of prophecy” and calling and election sure are synomous. D&C 131:5 implies as much, as does 2 Pet 1:10,19.

    Reception of the second comforter is not synonymous with “calling and election sure” but (again according to Joseph Smith) it is a “privilege” that is supposed to follow that event.

    If anything the personal revelation that one’s calling and election is made sure is properly speaking the “more sure word of prophecy” that a second anointing will take place at some future time (heaven or earth), be sealed (endorsed) by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and be made effective (exaltation).

    Comment by Mark D. — April 14, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

  45. Mark D.–
    I don’t know if I agree that reception of the second comforter is “supposed” to follow the ordinance of the Second Anointing. Although this is possible, I tend to think of it more as was mentioned in #38–similar to confirmation following baptism.

    Instances of people having visions or dreams of the Savior may be akin to non-members being touched by the Holy Ghost from time to time, yet we do not recognize them as having received the Gift of the HG. So they would not count as having your Calling and Election made sure.

    I don’t know if this is appropriate, but I personally know that at least 6 couples received their Second Anointings in the Hawaii Temple under Ezra Taft Benson when we were over there. There are also instances of this being mentioned in contemporary journals. Perhaps it is more widespread than we realize?

    DH tells me that George F. Richards says in his journal that the giving of this ordinance will cause quite a backlog in the Millennium.

    Jacob #36, I actually would be interested in your stab at explaining what the various terms mean and how they are related. Please.

    I think LDS generally place more of an emphasis on trying to BE more like the Savior than coming to know the Savior. But I would have to say that among those who are aware of the doctrine of calling and election, they see this as the ultimate goal. Your view seems unusual to me, Geoff. Do you have any reasons for downplaying this, other that what you have already stated that it is not widely taught and that it might be discouraging?

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — April 14, 2008 @ 10:03 pm

  46. Geoff,

    I don’t think I implied that any revelatory dream counts. The experience described by Elder Haight strikes me as quite remarkable and extraordinary. However, I only noted it because it was recent and public. As I said, he did not connect it with the second comforter in his talk. If you don’t think it fits the bill I won’t argue it.

    Matt: Also, one thing that was and is still confusing to me is that in the McConkie era, Calling and Election Made sure is treated as definitely seperate and apart from the second anointing.

    Yes, as Mark said, they are two different ideas. Having your calling and election made sure is receiving an assurance of exalation. That’s what your election being “made sure” means. It was in question, now it is assured. The second comforter, on the other hand, is about personal visitations, visions, and teaching. The two are just different things, although they may go together for some people. The “more sure word” and “calling and election” get tied to both an ordinance and a personal revelation because Joseph did that. In D&C 131:5, for example, he says that receiving the more sure word of prophecy means knowing you are sealed up “by revelation” as well as “through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” Revelation and priesthood ordinance, both. Hebrews, coupled with some Joseph Smith commentary, gives an interesting take on this.

    If it says “more sure,” the obvious question is, “more sure than what?” Hebrews 6-7 has a passage about how Abraham, who had already received the covenant promises on previous occasions, got a “more sure word” in Gen 22 when he went up to sacrifice Isaac:

    By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
    That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore (Gen 22:16-17)

    In Hebrews 6:13-17 it makes reference to this story and quotes Gen 22:17 saying that God could swear by nothing greater than himself so that is what he swore by, constituting an oath (this is the “oath” in the oath and covenant of the priesthood).

    So, we have Abraham who had already received the promises, but now he got an oath from God as an assurance, which (according to Hebrews 6) became “an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” As Joseph said:

    Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heir with him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast.

    So this is a promise by revelation that you, specifically, are assured of exaltation. But, we haven’t gotten to the interesting part yet. Hebrews 7 goes on to talk about Abraham some more, noting that Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedek and received a blessing from Melchisedek. It says rather directly in Heb 7:7 that the less (Abraham) was blessed of the greater (Melchisedek). On Aug 27, 1843, Joseph was riffing on this passage when he spoke the three grand orders of the priesthood, with Melchisedek priesthood being the highest order. He describes it as the power of a king and a priest with the kingly powers of anointing and the sealing power to open the windows of heaven.

    Most importantly, Joseph said on that occassion that Abraham, when he was blessed by Melchisedek, was given “the fulness of the priesthood which constituted him a king and a priest after the order of Melchisedek.” You can read more of Joseph’s version of the meeting between Abraham and Melchisedek by looking at the JST of Gen 14.

    So, according to Joseph Smith, Abraham got the final ordinances under the hands of Melchisedek, but this was before he offered up Isaac and obtained a more sure word, an oath, from the mouth of God assuring him of his own exalation. If you go re-read the D&C 132:46-50 passage I linked to before you will see that it is all framed in terms of this Abraham story once again. If you put all this stuff down side-by-side it is quite consistent and you can see how it all goes together in Joseph’s mind. He sees in the story an ordinance (through which Abraham received the highest order of the priesthood) followed later by a personal guarantee from God (after he showed he would sacrifice everything). The second comforter is neither of these, but an additional previledge to be taught from time to time from on high. So, they are all distinct and separable but they go together in the way Joseph taught it.

    If I am still being coy, tell me where.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 14, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

  47. BiV,

    I actually would be interested in your stab at explaining what the various terms mean and how they are related.

    My last comment is pretty unorganized and terrible, but maybe it will count as a start at that. There are a lot of other terms we haven’t mentioned here. A partial list is:

    1.Calling and Election made sure
    2.Second Anointing
    3.Sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise
    4.Given the fulness of the priesthood
    5.Given sealing power
    6.Made a king and priest
    7.Obtain the more sure word of prophecy
    8.Name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life
    9.Obtain membership in the church of the Firstborn
    10.Obtain the oath and covenant of the priesthood
    11.Second comforter
    12.Sealed up unto eternal life

    Sometimes the terms get used interchangably, but mostly you can tell which refer to a priesthood ordinance, which refer to a personal guarantee of salvation, and which refer to an ongoing teaching from on high. Trying to pigeonhole the terms doesn’t work well because they are not always used in a precise and restrictive way, but once you separate out the different components (as in the story of Abraham) and understand how they are separable, it doesn’t seem that confusing to me anymore.

    Of course, as I said, once I try to make sense out of this stuff theologically, I have a tough go of it.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 14, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

  48. Ok Jacob, you probably aren’t being coy, but I am still not sure I understand your point yet. Let me try to get to the heart of it. You are saying that to have one’s calling and election made sure the following things must happen (as they did with Abraham):

    1. You need the ordinance of the second anointing
    2. You need a revelation from God telling you that you are “in” — exalted
    3. After all this you are also entitled brunch with Jesus on occasion (or whatever) — as in personal visitations from God in one form or another

    Is that basically right?

    If so, what kind of revelation would suffice for your step two? Would a prompting saying “Psst — you’re in” do the job? Do you know of anyone who has passed these steps in the last 100 years?

    If that is what you are saying I must admit that like Mark I am thoroughly unimpressed with the whole notion of the second anointing. I know Joseph was high on it for a while there but I find the idea that it is somehow a necessary ordinance totally untenable theologically. For one thing, it is a method of saving people that might have worked with a tiny community as a church but is woefully inadequate to help get millions of saints become exalted. Are we to believe that God is that short sighted? If his work and glory is to bring to pass the exaltation of his saints are we to believe he is that inept of a manager?

    Perhaps even more disturbing than that is the cliquishness that surrounds the whole secret invitations to get second anointings. Reminds me of that J Golden Kimball quote about the three things that help a man to become a GA: “Revelation, inspiration, and relation”. I think Nick was right on when he said earlier: “It seems that any deity worth worshiping wouldn’t hold one’s lack of ecclesiastical connections against them, don’t you think?”

    In short, I am skeptical of this whole notion. It all sounds like a faith promoting rumor to me.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

  49. Mark,

    By the way, a couple of years ago we had an exchange about the Holy Spirit of Promise in which I mentioned that I think this idea of the HSoP as a ratifier (as taught by JFSII and BRM) is not a good fit with the scriptures or what Joseph had to say about it. In that comment I linked to I give the very short argument from language in D&C 132 that it refers to an ordinance (an ordinance which promises the second comforter).

    Comment by Jacob J — April 14, 2008 @ 10:58 pm

  50. BIV (#45): But I would have to say that among those who are aware of the doctrine of calling and election, they see this as the ultimate goal.

    What do you mean by “this” in that sentence? Did you mean becoming like Jesus or getting to know Jesus or something else?

    Your view seems unusual to me, Geoff. Do you have any reasons for downplaying this, other that what you have already stated that it is not widely taught and that it might be discouraging?

    Well I think I answered some of this in my #48. But on a personal level I want to know what specific goal I ought to be working toward in this life. If there is some event that is attainable to me that will assure the exaltation of Kristen and me I want to set it as a goal and achieve that goal (and I want to help others get there too). However, the more I look at this notion of calling and election made sure the more I think it is some kind of popular myth that gets hinted at but that is not real (at least not real as an event). I am pretty pragmatic so if it is not real then I would like to happily roll my eyes about the subject in the future when the subject is brought up. I will then continue to try to be like Jesus and get to know him on my own like I suspect all the prophets have done all along.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 11:00 pm

  51. Geoff (#48),

    No, you are missing my main point (which is certainly my fault, not yours). You have a list of three things and ask if I mean to say that all of them must happen to say someone has had their calling and election made sure. My main point is that all of these three things can happen independently and in any order. I think having your “calling and election made sure” is a term referring to your #2.

    As to your complaints, you might as well say that it is untenable to require baptism as a saving ordinance, given how few people receive it under the hand of an authorized priesthood holder. For Joseph, this is not something he was high on for awhile and then moved away from. He was increasingly high on it as he moved into his final years, moving into the cresendo we have spoken of in the past. Of course I agree with you and Nick that God will not hold someone’s lack of ecclesiastical connections against them.

    It all sounds like a faith promoting rumor to me.

    You’ll need to give me your working definition of “rumor.” I think it is abundantly obvious it is not based on rumor. Finally, I have said since the beginning of this thread that I think it poses some very interesting theological problems. On that, we agree.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 14, 2008 @ 11:10 pm

  52. Jacob,

    Ok, so your view is that to get our calling and election made sure we should basically be looking for a personal revelation of some kind saying “you’re in”. The other stuff I mentioned in #48 is not required on your view. Do you think a prompting would do the job or are there special kinds of revelation required? And what changes for a person after she gets it? And can one get this revelation individually or must it come to couples in some form or other (keeping D&C 131 in mind)? By all these questions I guess I am agreeing with you that this whole thing is a mess theologically.

    you might as well say that it is untenable to require baptism as a saving ordinance, given how few people receive it under the hand of an authorized priesthood holder.

    There is a massive difference between baptism and the second anointing: Anyone who knows about and wants baptism by the proper authority can simply choose to meet the requirements and ask for the ordinance. The second anointing is not likewise available to those who ask for it.

    You’ll need to give me your working definition of “rumor.”

    Hehe. Well I was admittedly using the phrase “faith promoting rumor” as a watered down version of “myth” which of course is a watered down version of “total crock” (grin).

    Comment by Geoff J — April 14, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

  53. BiV (#45),

    That is not what I said. I said reception of the Second Comforter is supposed to the personal revelation that one’s calling and election being made sure, not receiving the “second anointing”. See #12 for the quote from Joseph Smith.

    The second anointing is not mentioned explicitly anywhere in the scriptures (nor implicitly as far as I can tell). What little can be said authoritatively about its significance appears to derive solely from the reference to it in the temple endowment, about which we can’t speak particularly.

    Comment by Mark D. — April 14, 2008 @ 11:32 pm

  54. Jacob,

    Yes. However, my counterargument turns on the verse in D&C 76 that says that the Holy Spirit of promise is shed forth upon all who are just and true, i.e. the HSP is not associated with one ordinance alone.

    As far as D&C 132:19 is concerned, it seems implicit in the conjunction that the sealing concerned requires the joint action of both the Holy Spirit of promise and a duly ordained priesthood holder with the proper keys.

    Now why should joint action be required unless God reserves the right to withhold the HSP in some cases? And if joint action is not required the “by the Holy Spirit of promise” qualifier is not a qualifier at all, but rather little more than a rhetorical flourish.

    I would further suggest that v.18 is more correct when it uses the preposition “through” (as in “through him who is anointed”) than v.19 is with the double repetition of “by” (as in “by him who is anointed”). Two “by”s leaves the ultimate authority question ambiguous. “By” and “through” separately does not.

    Comment by Mark D. — April 15, 2008 @ 12:01 am

  55. (#53) Correction: “supposed to follow the personal revelation that one’s calling and election has been made sure”.

    Comment by Mark D. — April 15, 2008 @ 12:04 am

  56. I wanted to comment on this, but found my thoughts were more than could really be encompassed in a comment. Feel free to read it here, though I can’t guarantee how coherent it will be.

    At any rate, thanks for the post. It got me thinking about things I have wanted to formulate for some time.

    Comment by SilverRain — April 15, 2008 @ 4:04 am

  57. Mark,

    Yes. However, my counterargument turns on the verse in D&C 76

    Then your counterargument turns on a verse written in Feb 1832 before the sealing power was restored in 1836, before the ordinances were revealed, and before Joseph had worked out the details of this theology (in my opinion). Furthermore, compare D&C 124:124 “First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.” If the HSoP is as you have described, how does this even make sense. How can a person hold the sealing blessings which are controlled (by definition) only by the Holy Ghost?

    Comment by Jacob J — April 15, 2008 @ 7:45 am

  58. Jacob,

    First of all, the phrase “holy Spirit of Promise” originates in the English translation of Ephesians 1:13-14. The use of the term in D&C 76 is comparable with the original usage.

    Now, if it is true that Joseph Smith decided to introduce an incompatible definition for a term that was in wide distribution for centuries prior, in a manner contradictory to his own prior carefully edited usage, then all I can say is his nomenclature is so bizarre that we have little hope of knowing what he intended.

    D&C 124:124 states that the “Holy Spirit of promise” is “held” by Hyrum Smith. At the very least, that is exceedingly bad grammar. “Spirit” is capitalized in Ephesians 1:13 for a reason – because it is a reference to the Spirit of God, not because it is a reference to a priesthood key or authority of some sort. Would we capitalize “Sealing Power” or “Gift of Healing”? The scriptures never do.

    It is worth noting that neither D&C 124 nor 132 were published in Joseph Smith’s lifetime, and it is probable that he never edited them at all.

    Comment by Mark D. — April 15, 2008 @ 6:17 pm

  59. Mark,

    I’ll make a concession which may bring us pretty close together on this after all. I don’t know why you think the definition is “incompatible.” It seems perfectly compatible to me and in line with the way Joseph used other terms surrounding this doctrine. Just as the more sure word of prophecy is by revelation and through the priesthood, the HSoP gets talked about as a revelation and an ordinance.

    The passage in Ephesians talks about it being “the earnest of our inheritance,” in other words, a guarantee of future payment. This makes it sound quite a bit like the more sure word of prophecy. So, this may just be another case where Joseph talks about the ordinance and the revelation using the same terms. Obviously they were closely related in his mind.

    However, I don’t know where JFSII can find support for his view that the HSoP ratifies all ordinances. I think it can reasonably be thought of as a ratification of the second anointing, but I can’t get on board with the idea that it is a generic term for the Holy Ghost as a ratifier of any and all covenants. I’m not saying you are advocating that view, but I get trigger happy when I see hints of that doctrine.

    By the way, I am not really buying your argument that D&C 76 trumps D&C 124,132 because 76 was edited and the others were not. I will take the unedited dictation of 1840s Joseph over the edited 1832 Joseph all day long.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 15, 2008 @ 9:50 pm

  60. Regarding the Harold B. Lee statement I mentioned in Comment #21, this was the source.

    When John A. Tvedtnes, for example, asked Apostle Harold B. Lee in a Salt Lake Temple missionary question-and-answer session if the “second endowment” existed and “if so, what connection does it have with the Holy Spirit of Promise, and who receives it and why and how,” Lee answered, “You don’t have to worry. You’ve received all the ordinances necessary for exaltation….It is a special blessing given by the President of the Church to men who have been called. It is not necessary to receive it, however. You have all the endowment you need to be exalted” (John A. Tvedtnes Journal, 30 June 1961, recounted by permission in Mysteries of Godliness, Buerger, Smith Research Associates)

    Comment by Matt W. — April 16, 2008 @ 7:22 am

  61. I worked in the St. George temple for a period of time. I was told that the security guard would, on occasion, be requested to open the gates for a member of the First Presidency who, along with a number of couples, would require entry to the grounds on Sunday morning. They would go into the temple, and return a short time thereafter.

    I would have to assume that these individuals were there to receive the second endowment, as detailed above.

    Comment by James — April 29, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

  62. CALLING AND ELECTION SURE

    Those members of the Church who devote themselves wholly to righteousness, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, make their calling and election sure. That is, they receive the more sure word of prophecy, which means that the Lord seals their exaltation upon them while they are yet in this life. Peter summarized the course of righteousness which the saints must pursue to make their calling and election sure and then (referring to his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration with James and John) said that those three had received this more sure word of prophecy. (2 Pet. 1.)

    Joseph Smith taught: “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter.” To receive the other Comforter is to have Christ appear to him and to see the visions of eternity. (Teachings, pp. 149–151.)

    Thus, as the prophet also said, “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” (D. & C. 131:5.) Those so favored of the Lord are sealed up against all manner of sin and blasphemy except the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and the shedding of innocent blood. That is, their exaltation is assured; their calling and election is made sure, because they have obeyed the fulness of God’s laws and have overcome the world. Though such persons “shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation.” (D. & C. 132:26.)

    The Lord says to them: “Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; . . . and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths.” (D. & C. 132:19.) The prophet, for one, had this seal placed upon him. That is, he knew “by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood,” that he would attain godhood in the world to come. To him Deity said: “I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father with Abraham your father.” (D. & C. 132:49.)

    It should be clearly understood that these high blessings are not part of celestial marriage. “Blessings pronounced upon couples in connection with celestial marriage are conditioned upon the subsequent faithfulness of the participating parties.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 46–47.)

    [Pp. 109–10 in McConkie, Bruce R. 1966. Mormon Doctrine. 2nd ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft.]

    Comment by James — April 29, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

  63. There is a book available on Amazon.com on this subject titled: The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil.

    Comment by anon — May 6, 2008 @ 7:19 am

  64. From what I have gathered, Calling And Election Made Sure is the revelation of that you are going to go to the highest glory of the Celestial Kingdom. Typically, this happens after this life, when you meet the Savior on the other side and he says something like “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, now thou shalt be made ruler over many…” or something to that effect. Sometimes it happens in this life. It may happen in conjunction with what is called either the Second Endowment or Second Anointing referred to in the Endowment Ceremony (without going into detail) where you are sealed up to eternal life. Or it just may happen as a revelation on its own, and then the Second Anointing comes later, and becomes just a formality.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — May 7, 2008 @ 1:49 am

  65. The second anointing is a ordinance once common among members of the church but now seems to happen only to select individuals. Many current members come across reference to stories of their pioneer relatives having their calling and election made sure. And the wife washing her husbands feet back at home to seal the ordinance.

    One interesting part of the second anointing is that it shows a more developed LDS theology and is more unique than the masonic inspired endowment and initiatory.

    Comment by Jake — June 2, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

  66. Interesting point about the masonic comparison, I imagine NickL would have something interesting to say about that.

    Comment by Jacob J — June 2, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

  67. the reason why there is not a lot of information about calling and elections is because god holds the informtion to himself so you have to go to him to get it. I asked god what is it to have your calling and election made sure for 5 years. I just kept asking. during that time, 5 years plus my 2 years of missionary service I prayed a lot. asked a lot of questions and did tons of missionary work all across canada and the united states. One night as I studied and pondered over my scriptures I was taken up to a high mountain. whether in the body or out I could not tell. I was shown a temple in the distance. I walked to it. its a long story what happened next but as I walked in the temple there was a bright light. as I came closer I saw that it was god the father. he spoke shorty to me. then jesus spoke to me. they set me apart with hands on my head and gave me my calling and election which sealed me to them for eternity. I was shown and taught many other things that day. there is no way to discribe the complete experience. let me just say that being in the presence of the father son and holy ghost is like taking love and happiness and multiplying it many thousands of times over. I believe that many have had their calling and election. I am far from perfect aswell. nevertheless these things and more have happened to me dispite my many weaknesses because I sought out these things and was diligent in prayer and study in missionary work and coming closer to god and I believe if you want it it can be yours through lots of prayer ponder and study. oh before I end this, when you begin to be taught in depth from the spirit be sure to remember not to become puffed up in pride and judgement. its a trap that will stop you dead cold in your tracts everytime. oh and besure you can keep gods secrets unless he prompts you to share. MTTL

    Comment by mark tyson trent — October 8, 2008 @ 11:13 am

  68. Simple suggestion – to understand the meaning of a term, start by reading it in the context it was written in. What do the surrounding verses talk about? How does it relate to the entire chapter and the entire letter. Context is a key component of understanding the intention of the communication.

    Comment by Gregg — August 30, 2009 @ 10:32 am

  69. I googled this site because even though I have known about the doctrine of second annointing for a long time, an acquaintance of mine recently brought it to my attention. I read some of the material he gave me and thought about it, and began to wonder if I should start praying about it, as suggested by Elder McConkie in a 1984 general conference talk. My inclination is not to worry about it, for the following reason. As Jesus suggests in the New Testament, the best way to find something for oneself (like MY OWN salvation) is to forget about it. Work for someone else’s salvation, and your own salvation will occur as an accidental by-product. It seems to me that there’s something a bit self-centered about worrying so much about your own salvation. Better to become a Bodhisattva and focus on others–ensure that they get to heaven before you do. I adhere to the accidental or incidental theory of happiness–happiness occurs when you’re doing something good and unselfish, not when you’re focused on being happy. The same applies to salvation, which is just eternal happiness. Lose yourself, forget yourself, and maybe someday when you least expect it, you’ll find yourself in the celestial kingdom, but not because it was your paramount goal to get there. After all, didn’t Jesus say that we must be willing to give up everything to find the pearl of great price. “Everything” might even include the prospect of finding the pearl. As Elder Faust said in one of his talks, not much good ever came from doing something when the motivation for doing it was “What’s in it for me?” The Bhagavad Gita explains this very well–salvation comes when we quit worrying about the consequences (rewards) of our actions and just do what’s good, period. Cut the selfish cord that stretches between present act and future consequence.

    Comment by Dave — September 25, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  70. i just have one question about this. ive never heard of this subject before. but its interesting….my thoughts i think are simplistic in comparison….but ive always thought that salvation is something ( with exception of a few) that we will receieve after the judgement …like nephi sayhs…we will be saved through grace after doing everything we have done…and the 2 greatest commandments that god has given are to love him…and love thy neighbor…if this having an election made was such a necessary componnent to our salvation.. i would expect this to go through the proper priesthood channels to be made known to everyone in the church so that we all have the opportunity to “do it” for lack of a better phrase.
    another thing that sort of bothers me about this term is that it takes way to much away from the personal liability of it all…if you have the assurance you are going to be exalted …then why not kill yourself right there and then? you are still in possession of your own actions and choices and you will still make mistakes…
    as i recall the principles of the gospel are repentance…baptism…receiving the holy ghost…and perservering to the end.. we do that by living the commandments and loving people as best as we can and repenting everyday….
    if all i needed was to pray alot and read alot…then i would be spending to much time on myself and not helping others…that sounds crazy to me..that god would only ensure salvation for a select few based an alot of reading and praying? since when…when enoc was told by the lord that his sins were forgiven even after praying all night he was forgiven…but he still had to continue living a rightous life…am i missing something?

    Comment by jitterybug — September 27, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

  71. Re: Dave, comment #69
    I just taught the NT Gospel Doctrine lesson which includes this subject last Sunday! I wanted to learn more, and found this commentary. Interesting, confusing, enlightening, etc. But I think Dave’s comment is the most insightful of all. Well said, and thankyou!

    Comment by LMP — November 29, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  72. Many people have asked in what form will the appearance of Christ take. I have had this experience although I was not trying to have it. It was only after it happened that I went searching for answers and figured out there was a name for it. I don’t think most people will have this experience because of most people will never be in a situation that one has to really be willing to prove ones self willing to follow and know Christ to that level. Even people who are much more righteous than me. Well besides at during the short time period I had this experience. I won’t go into the detail of why I was forced to have faith at that level. I will say that it was weeks of being fully focused and reliant upon that faith every minute of the day and night for nearly two weeks. A time when it seemed as the whole world was out to get me and Jesus was the only person I had to turn to. I had to rid myself of all fear anger or any of the seven deadly sins. To where I was actually praying for the people who I believed were out to destroy me. I also had turned to God and asked for forgiveness truly feeling sorry for every sin I had ever done. It was not a pretty sight.

    Then one night all of the sudden as I was praying and pondering on on it all I felt this amazing feeling that is indescribable. It is like the most loved secure feeling on earth you can imagine time five billion. It’s not an emotion that can be explained in this life. At that moment there is no doubt that God is there. I didn’t see him with my eyes. I didn’t need too. I could see/feel him in everything around me. Every molecule in the walls the furniture the air and even I myself was part of this amazing love energy that was God. I knew at that moment that I was a child of God and that God is pure love and it’s that love that creates everything. It’s like you instantly know all the mysteries of heaven and earth. I could read the scriptures and interpret them for quite a while afterwards. I had some strange visions as well. I’m not quite sure how it worked but it’s like things will manifest themselves in this realm when one is connected to the spiritual realm at that level.

    As you can probably tell the reason no one would talk about something like this happening is because there is no way to explain it without sounding nuts. Animals and small children could sense it immediately in me after it happened. But if I tried to explain it to any adults it didn’t go over to well. It’s really impossible to explain because it is indescribable. But it is more real than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. I could never deny that I saw God. Even if not in the literal sense. I can’t even fathom seeing God with my eyes. He couldn’t be reduced to that. At the time I was feeling through all my senses. It made me realize how limiting my body is. It was pure bliss! I only wish I could have everyone feel it for a split second so they would know how much God truly loves them and know if their infinite worth.
    I myself am not special nor had a been very righteous. I was actually very lost and so I made myself become that way because I had no where else to turn. I have always had a good heart but it’s really not about doing everything right. It’s definitely not about doing a a bunch of rituals. The second anointing is just that. A ritual. The pure love of Christ is the only real powerful force out there and the only quality we need to seek to have. It’s really that simple but not so simple as it goes against the natural man. I guess that is the test.

    Do I know I have sealed my exultation? I know I belong to Christ and Jesus was and is my savior. I could never deny it. But I’m still here for now and still have the struggles of life to endure. I still have to remind myself to be more Christ like sometimes. I don’t think one could live very long in this life if they were to stay at that level of spirituality. It makes work and everything else seem meaningless. So it’s really just finding the balance between our carnal and spiritual selves and being the best person we can be. In that sense I think that many of the righteous followers of the gospel are further along than I am. I don’t really see the point in doing the rituals I don’t really believe they are necessary. But I guess if people are able to see the meaning behind them then they are a good thing. I have a hard time doing that though. Maybe I just have to live things? God is pure love nothing can separate us from that but us. The only way to know God is to emulate him. I am LDS and have gone through the temple but I believe anyone can have their calling and election made sure if they are willing to prove themselves worthy to serve God against all risk. I don’t think it’s just a Mormon thing. It’s a Jesus thing. If anything I think all of the Mormon rituals may keep people from doing it. There is a big difference between religion and the pure love of Christ. God loves us beyond all of our imperfections. God is love beyond all description. That is really the only way to explain it.

    Comment by Stephanie — May 9, 2014 @ 2:09 pm

  73. Stephanie,

    The disconnection from ritual with persons with similar narratives such as what you present is a common theme. I don’t mean that derogatively either. My coworker Jeff Olsen (Google him) have had many conversations about this phenomenon. I like his philosophy and application much more than Denver Snuffer’s.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Comment by Riley — May 17, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

  74. I don’t quite understand what you mean by the disconnection with ritual? Do you mean the ritualistic torture that the church does in there attempt to get people to kill themselves or have this experience? I don’t know anyone else who has similar stories. I hope there are many more. I do know many who have died in the process though. I couldn’t find what you mean about your friend. I will keep searching though. I did find Denver Snuffer’s stuff and I agree with it very much. I don’t get how he can remain an active Mormon though. The sad thing is the ritual abuse starts very young. I don’t think anyone is really meant to survive it. They don’t leave much of a life left to survive with. Although enduring to the end is a little better after knowing the bliss that will be after this life

    Comment by Stephanie — June 1, 2014 @ 10:09 am

  75. Do you mean the ritualistic torture that the church does in there attempt to get people to kill themselves or have this experience?

    Huh? What on earth are you talking about? There is nothing in Mormonism that fits this description.

    Comment by Geoff J — June 1, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

  76. Stephanie,

    Like Geoff, I’m at a loss as to what you are getting at (unless you’re talking about the torture that is Boy Scouts – I hated scouting). My apologies if I wasn’t clear.

    You said:

    “It’s definitely not about doing a a bunch of rituals. The second anointing is just that. A ritual.”

    “I don’t really see the point in doing the rituals I don’t really believe they are necessary…”

    “If anything I think all of the Mormon rituals may keep people from doing it.”

    In my discussions with my friend (who travels and speaks with many others, of all faiths) even he recognizes the common theme in the narratives of persons with such experiences and that is that they become disconnected with ritual or even organized religion in general.

    I think it is important to note, as you seem to, that the concept of “Second Comforter” and the ritual, the “Second Anointing,” are not necessarily mutually inclusive. One can experience the one without experiencing the other.

    Comment by Riley — June 4, 2014 @ 10:34 pm

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